Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Senior's Moment

Saturday is usually a day where the family gets up early, packs our ski gear into the SUV, and cruises up to Mont Ste-Marie for a day on the slopes. The girls have lessons, while DW and I try to relive the days when skiing was easy and not jarring on our bones and joints.

Last Saturday, however, saw temperatures hovering around –29°C: with the wind, it was a skin-destroying –45°C. It was a day to give the ski slopes a pass and, instead, we had a leisurely morning of staying under the covers a little longer, and enjoying a relaxing breakfast of home-made waffles and omelettes.

CBC Radio One was playing, as it always does in our house, and we were listening to Day 6 host, Brent Bambury, speak with Texas journalist, Diana Washington Valedez, about Pope Francis' visit, this week, to Mexico: specifically, his visit to the city of Juarez, once known as the murder capital of that country.

Ms. Valedez' name, as we heard, was pronounced "Val-deez." Our eldest daughter heard Brent address his guest and asked, "isn't her name pronounced, 'Vahl-dehz'?"

"I imagine it can be pronounced either way," I said. "Years ago, off the coast of Alaska, an oil tanker ran aground, causing an environmental disaster. The name of the ship was the Juan Valdez." I pronounced the second part of the name, "Val-deez," like the journalist's surname.

DW laughed out loud. "Yes, it was a terrible disaster. Millions of kilos of coffee beans spilled out into the sea."

I realized my blunder. It was the Exxon Valdez that I meant to say, not the name of the fictitious Colombian coffee guy.

"That's not the half of it," DW laughed, as she tried to further educate our daughter, "millions of birds and marine life were affected. They couldn't sleep for weeks. They became caffeine addicts."

I wished that I was on the ski slopes in that sub-Arctic weather.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Photo Friday: The Hog's Back Project

Shortly after I finished my first photo project, on Bate Island, I wanted to choose another site in the city and take photos over the span of a year, but I found that something like my Bate Island Project took too much time. I stopped on the island every time I crossed the Champlain Bridge, which was usually twice a day, four times a week.

It was a huge commitment, took lots of time, in all sorts of weather, and had me encountering all kinds of people (some good, but mostly, weird).

I wasn't sure about where I wanted to go to repeat a similar project. It had to be somewhere that wasn't out of my way and was easily accessible, year-round. For the Bate Island Project, during the winter months, half of the roadway wasn't plowed, which meant that I had to blaze a trail through the snow (and we had a lot of snow over those two winters) and the cold (it was freezing both winters, too).

I didn't want to take a photograph every time I passed this spot. I wanted the option that, if the weather was rotten or the light wasn't right, I could skip a stop. I could say to myself, "not today. I just want to keep moving."

I also decided that I would only post one photograph each week, for a maximum of 52 weeks. If a vacation or other reason made me skip a week, so be it. I wasn't going to be a slave to this next project.

And so I located my spot.



It's one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the city (I can only think of three: are there more?) and the biggest fault lines in our region. It has a spot where I can stand and set my tripod in virtually the same location every time, though I have no plans to amalgamate these into another video. I started this project in the first week of January, and I will continue to the last week of December. I call it the Hog's Back Project. You can see it on my Flickr site.

I may not be writing a lot, these days, but my camera hasn't stopped.

Happy Friday!

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